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See more synonyms for pessimistic on Thesaurus.com
  1. pertaining to or characterized by pessimism or the tendency to expect only bad outcomes; gloomy; joyless; unhopeful: His pessimistic outlook kept him from applying for jobs for which he was perfectly qualified.
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Origin of pessimistic

First recorded in 1865–70; pessimist + -ic
Related formspes·si·mis·ti·cal·ly, adverbnon·pes·si·mis·tic, adjectivenon·pes·si·mis·ti·cal·ly, adverbo·ver·pes·si·mis·tic, adjectiveo·ver·pes·si·mis·ti·cal·ly, adverbun·pes·si·mis·tic, adjectiveun·pes·si·mis·ti·cal·ly, adverb


See more synonyms for pessimistic on Thesaurus.com
despairing, hopeless.

Synonym study

See cynical.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pessimistic

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • There was none to speak of left now except in Africa; and they were pessimistic about Africa.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • He had the most pessimistic forebodings of what the future might have in store for him.

  • "I knew he was a quitter;" the woman's companion was pessimistic.


    W. A. Fraser

  • My thoughts at that period of suffering were pessimistic in the extreme.

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • "We hate each other," retorted the pessimistic Number Twelve.

    The Monster Men

    Edgar Rice Burroughs

Word Origin and History for pessimistic


1866, from pessimist + -ic.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper